Time to revamp your healthcare resume and make sure that the valuable space on the 1-2 pages of paper representing your professional life is used wisely!
Some of the recommendations in this article are space savers and formatting suggestions while others involve removing irrelevant or outdated details. The end goal is to present the most pertinent information as succinctly as possible by removing the unnecessary “fluff.”
1. Mailing address
It may have been customary in the past, but it is no longer necessary to provide your complete mailing address on a resume. Listing city and state alone are more than adequate. It is highly unlikely that the prospective employer will need to mail you a hard copy of materials until after you are hired (at which time you will be filling out plenty of paperwork with your address on it).1 The prospective employer does not need to know your exact commute either. This prevents presumptions of your commute being too far or too difficult for you to seriously consider the position. If they’re interested in your commuting plans, this can be discussed at the actual interview.
2. Additional contact numbers
List only one phone number (most likely your cell) and make sure you have an appropriate professional mailbox greeting set up. Listing multiple contact numbers, such as cell and current work line or home phone can make things confusing for both you and prospective employers. List a line that only you will have access to (rather than your mother or roommate etc.). Listing only one phone number also helps you to monitor calls and voicemails more efficiently.2
3. An unprofessional personal email address
Your “personal” email address still needs to be professional. Do not provide an email address with a nickname. Many new graduates use their college or graduate school email but most of these become inactive a few years after you graduate! Consider starting a new email account to make keeping track of applications and correspondences easier.3
4. Marital status, family status, or religious preference
Any or all of these factors can lead to unnecessary bias; this includes presumptions regarding time off requests, work hour limitations or reduced dedication level to the position. On that note, it is actually illegal for an interviewer to inquire into these areas directly because of the biases they can cause. In addition to the aforementioned, federal laws also prohibit potential employers from asking about age, national origin, disabilities, gender, pregnancy status or military status for the same reason.4
5. Objectives or goals
Stating a career objective or your career goals on the top of a resume has become outdated.1 Objectives can, however, be included in your cover letter. The cover letter, or letter of intent, should express what you are looking for in a potential position and why you feel that this particular position to which you are applying would be a great fit.
6. Hobbies or outside interests
Whereas this used to be promoted — the goal being to give you a unique and memorable persona — experts now consider it a waste of valuable space. Prospective employers can inquire as to your personal hobbies and interests at the interview itself if they are looking for some more personalized chatting points and to find out more about your personality and compatibility.3
7. Photo/professional headshot
Prejudice and discrimination issues have arisen from the practice of viewing applicants’ physical appearances in advance. Prospective employers have argued that photos assist in remembering who the candidates are when reviewing applications later on. In reality, the prospective employer can always look you up on LinkedIn before the interview if they so choose. Similarly, he or she can view photographs the same way after the interview if they’ve forgot what you look like; hopefully you will be memorable enough that he or she wouldn’t have to (but yet another reason to have an updated professional LinkedIn profile).
8. Graduation years
Since graduation dates from college and/or professional programs can lead to age discrimination, you can go ahead and leave this out.3
Grades are unnecessary, and this includes professional exam and board scores.
10. Irrelevant work experience
Any work experience from more than 10 years ago that does not demonstrate relevant skills should be removed. Also, any work experience that was short-term and only lasted a few months that does not demonstrate relevant skills should be removed.2
11. Expected salary
Unless the position requires an expected salary to be listed with your application, do not include this on your resume. You do not want to limit yourself to a certain monetary value. This could ultimately diminish any leverage you may have had making a potential salary negotiation.
12. Previous salaries or pay rates
This information should be left for discussion at the interview similarly to expected salary. You do not want a prospective employer to assume you will work for the same or similar rate as in the past. Also, some up-font salaries are not exactly comparable. For example, an independent contractor or part-time position may have a higher hourly rate than a full-time position with benefits or additional commission opportunities. These additional factors are best discussed in person most thoroughly rather than outlined on your resume.5
13. Reasons for leaving previous positions
Again, this information is best discussed at the interview. If you have gaps of few months, between positions, simply remove months and just list years.6
14. Boss/supervisor information for previous positions
15. Reference list
Your reference list should be presented as a separate document available “upon request.” This saves space on the resume and also ensures that only serious inquiries are provided with the information of your contacts. On the reference list you can provide the reference name, contact information and capacity of your relationship with the person.
16. Formatting faux pas
We all know that your ideal resume should be sleek, concise and easy to navigate.
17. Too many details and excessive descriptions
This can go hand-in-hand with deciding between using a resume and curriculum vitae (CV). Since this is a common point of misunderstanding, especially in the healthcare field, we will have a quick review of resume vs. CV and when to utilize each.
A CV is a much more lengthy, detailed, and academically oriented document that fully summarizes your degrees, work experiences and skills. A CV also entails detailed descriptions of other items such as research projections, publications, and achievements.7 Whereas a resume should be 1-2 pages long and very concise, a CV may be several pages long. In a way, you can think of your resume as the abbreviated version or an outline of your CV.
A CV is generally used when applying for medical or research positions, grant applications, or positions at academic institutions. For non-clinical or research positions a resume should generally be used. If specified in the job description to submit one or the other, be careful to read instructions and submit accordingly. If possible, it is a good idea to have an up to date version of each on hand.
Your resume is often the first glimpse a potential employer has of your professionalism and tact. By having a resume that is up-to-date and easy to traverse, you grant a potential employer quicker access to your many impressive qualities and qualifications. Make the first impression count!